U.S. jobless claims fall 15,000 to 358,000
U.S. jobless claims fall 15,000 to 358,000 (by Jeffry Bartash)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. jobless claims fell by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 358,000 in the week ended Feb. 4, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had estimated claims would rise to 370,000. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up by 6,000 to 373,000. The four-week average of claims, meanwhile, dropped by 11,000 to 366,250, the lowest level since April 2008. The monthly average smoothes out seasonal quirks and provides a more accurate assessment of labor-market trends, economists say. Also on Thursday, the government said continuing claims increased by 64,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.52 million in the week ended Jan. 28. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag. About 7.66 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended Jan. 21, up 7,982 from the prior week. Total claims are reported with a two-week lag.